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Krytyka Prawa. Niezależne studia nad prawem

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Year 3/2021 
Volume 13 
Issue 1

Urzędnicy wyborczy. Kilka refleksji o nowej instytucji polskiego prawa wyborczego

Krzysztof Skotnicki
Uniwersytet Łódzki

3/2021 13 (1) Krytyka Prawa. Niezależne studia nad prawem

DOI 10.7206/kp.2080-1084.429

Abstract

The 2018 amendment of the Polish Electoral Code established the institution of electoral officials, who replaced the institution of electoral plenipotentiaries, existing since 1998. One of the main differences between the two institutions is that electoral officials may not work at commune offices in charge of preparing and holding election in the area of their jurisdiction. The aim of the adopted solution was to isolate local government administration from the election process. The article offers a critical analysis of the institution of electoral officials. The subject matter of the discussion is both the legal regulation and the conclusions drawn from the examination of the institution in question, conducted by the Stefan Batory Foundation after the end of the 2018 local government elections, when the electoral officials fulfilled their statutory duty for the first time. The discussion leads to the conclusion that the establishment of the institution of electoral officials was not well thought out, and actually took place without appropriate consultation. The provisions of the Electoral Code are often vague. They have not been clarified to a sufficient extent in the resolutions adopted by the National Electoral Commission either. It is reasonable to have electoral officials appointed for a six-year term of office by the Head of the National Electoral Office. What is surprising, however, is that electoral officials may run for an office during elections taking place in a constituency outside of their area of activity as well as engage in election cam paigns – except for their own campaigns – while they should remain completely impartial during the election. The vague status of electoral officials and of the principles of their remuneration made it very difficult to attract individuals willing to perform this function. The headcount originally assumed had to be reduced by half; now it is 2,600. It is also necessary to reconsider the number of electoral officials assigned to individual communes. A major flaw of the adopted regulation is the lack of a clear division of duties and responsibilities between electoral official and communes. All this casts a bad light on the institution of electoral officials. It is argued that they were poorly prepared to perform the duties they were entrusted with. They also lacked the necessary theoretical knowledge and were not familiar with local conditions and constraints. Therefore, instead of helping, they made the work of commune officials only harder. But the call for dissolving the institution altogether is not legitimate. It is necessary to return to the previous solution, where the electoral officials in a commune were the officials working at commune offices, regular employees of these basic local government units. In communes with larger populations, there may be even more such officials. It is essential to reinforce the status of electoral officials, which is why it is important to clearly definthe nature of their relationships with the commune heads (town/city mayors) as well as to strengthen their position and grant them authority in the field of duties carried out as part of elections and referenda over other commune officials. It is also requisite to appoint them for terms of office of a particular number of years, and remunerate them in fixed monthly amounts – with the amounts increased in periods of preparing and holding elections or referenda. Only this way will it be possible to have a proper Electoral Official Service composed of professional commune officials specialising in organising and holding elections and referenda.

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APA style

Urzędnicy wyborczy. Kilka refleksji o nowej instytucji polskiego prawa wyborczego. (2021). Urzędnicy wyborczy. Kilka refleksji o nowej instytucji polskiego prawa wyborczego. Krytyka Prawa. Niezależne Studia Nad Prawem, 13(1), 80-97. https://doi.org/10.7206/kp.2080-1084.429 (Original work published 3/2021AD)

MLA style

“Urzędnicy Wyborczy. Kilka Refleksji O Nowej Instytucji Polskiego Prawa Wyborczego”. 3/2021AD. Krytyka Prawa. Niezależne Studia Nad Prawem, vol. 13, no. 1, 2021, pp. 80-97.

Chicago style

“Urzędnicy Wyborczy. Kilka Refleksji O Nowej Instytucji Polskiego Prawa Wyborczego”. Krytyka Prawa. Niezależne Studia Nad Prawem, Krytyka Prawa. Niezależne studia nad prawem, 13, no. 1 (2021): 80-97. doi:10.7206/kp.2080-1084.429.